By Eric Diehl
Several years ago I read the novel ‘Name of the Wind’, by the debut novelist Patrick Rothfuss, and I found that I had a new favorite author to add to my list. I have recently begun his second work, ‘A Wise Man’s Fear’ (yes, it took several years for him to produce the 2nd novel in his series, but it’s worth the wait), and I had a revelation that I am surprised had not occurred to me prior. I’ve only read the first two of the Harry Potter series, and perhaps I read those after Name of the Wind. In any case, it seems to me that Rothfuss is creating a somewhat more grown-up theme along the lines of Harry Potter. Young men at University, specializing in various types of magic, with a small band of fellows, male and female, who are faithful to our protagonist—that being young Kvothe. And of course a number of influential and villainous antagonists to be dealt with. I would guess that other reviewers have already made the Harry Potter connection.
In any case, what I find most appealing about Rothfuss’ writing is his deep characterization, along with the day to day travails that continue to surprise and challenge our impoverished and strong-minded protagonist. I also like the mystery of how the story is being chronicled after the fact, knowing that that means that at some point (probably in a future sequel) the adventure will resume in real-time.
Kvothe has a long-term goal, that being the exposure of the band of mythical beings that he witnessed slaughter his parents and their traveling troupe of gypsy-style musicians, But to be honest, I’m a little fuzzy on that theme. I had to do a memory dump to recall some of it from my first reading several years ago. In fact Kvothe’s pursuit of that goal is where the first novel lost a bit of its allure for me. But most of the wandering story strikes home, and those episodes are what keep me anxiously coming back to The Wise Man’s Fear, anxious to find out what will happen next. I feel that I’ve come to know Kvothe and his friends quite well, and I feel the need to stick with them through this adventure, cheering them on and watching out for the plethora of mishaps that will surely trip them up.
I highly recommend Rothfuss to any readers who enjoy fantasy, especially that along the lines of Potter.